The kids and I harvested bunches of chamomile
before the drought really set in.
I love chamomile.
It is so sweet, gentle and light.
When you brush by it in our potager, a most lovely fragrance fills the air and my imagination surges. I decided Chamomile could be a beautiful addition to a desert so I decided to
infuse sugar until I came up with something.
I do love to infuse sugar.
It makes me giddy.
Right now, I am infusing with lavender, chamomile and red pepper. (Not together of course!)
I put my lavender jelly in the Summer Edition of Parisienne Farmgirl Magazine (However, there is an error and you will want to use a couple more ounces of pectin then mentioned! Yikes!).
I began to consider a chamomile cake with lavender jelly filling and we had some very special company schedule for the other day and I could not resist. I just had to try it...
You will need-
2 3/4 cups of flour (cake or all-purpose)
3 eggs separated (room temperature)
3 sticks of butter, soft
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 1/2 cups of sugar infused with chamomile
1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
3/4 cup of milk
Preheat your oven to 350.
Prepare two 9" cake pans with butter and flour.
If you have never done this before... an easy way is to take a paper towel or napkin and a tablespoon of butter - use paper towel spread over your fingertips to spread the butter around the pans. Toss in a spoon of flour and tilt the pan all over until the butter is coated. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.
Separate the eggs and let them come to room temperature.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
For a very light chamomile taste simply sift the flowers from the sugar (that you have been infusing - mine had been infusing for a couple weeks). For a stronger flavor (which I like because I think chamomile is so light a flavor to begin with) whiz your infused sugar in your Cuisinart until fully blended. Sift. This way you will sift out any of the greenery that you don't want in your recipe.
With a stand or handheld mixer, mix the butter until soft.
Take half the sugar and add it to your blended butter.
Blend until light and fluffy.
Slowly add the eggs yolks and vanilla while continuing to blend.
In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites, when they become frothy add the cream of tarter. When soft peaks begin to form, add the remaining sugar. Continue until stiff peaks form.
In three equal parts, fold the egg mixture in with your batter.
DO NOT over mix. Be gentle :)
Evenly spread in your cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
I won't bore you with my frosting recipe because I have none! I just wing it starting with a stick of butter, a pile of powdered sugar and a splash of milk in the Cuisinart. If I need to adjust it - I do.
After your cakes have cooled you can assemble. If your cakes are noticeably round on the top, and you don't think they will lay nice you can take a serrated edged knife and cut horizontally to make a flat surface (after removing from the pan of course!) This a great way to try your cake before anyone else does too!
Coat your cake plate with a thin layer of frosting, place one cake on top of the frosting. Pipe or spread just about a half-inch thick layer of frosting all the way around the edge of the cake and a thin layer all over the center. Fill in the center area with your lavender jelly (to match the height of your frosting). Spread a thin layer of frosting on your other half and gently place it on top. So you have created a sort of damn with that thicker layer around the edge - now you won't have to fill it in when you ice the sides of your cake --- savvy?)
Ice top and sides and enjoy!
Because this cake is a bit more "rustic" being an herb cake -n- all I did not go for a smooth frosting look.
I was a bit nervous to have everyone try this at our luncheon... and... our guests were French which of course can be intimidating when it come to cuisine. They each had two pieces!
So much for "Eating like a Parisienne" hahahaha!
I hope you enjoy it!